Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Second Time Around 

Wednesday, Oct 8 1997
Comments
Shotgun Freeway
It's turning out to be the Year of L.A. The two best American movies of 1997, Boogie Nights and L.A. Confidential, both plunge headlong into Los Angeles' mythical, not-so-distant past, and Wim Wenders' fascinating The End of Violence pokes at its overmediated present. Morgan Neville and Harry Pallenberg's Shotgun Freeway does both, cruising through the city then and now, literally and figuratively, in a long two-tone convertible. The film is a mosh pit of found footage and interviews, sharply contrasting scratchy old civic booster films and clips from L.A.-based TV shows ("This is the city of Los Angeles, 458 square miles of metal, concrete, and humanity," Jack Webb announces in one clip) with pungent commentary from such talkative natives as Joan Didion on freeway fear, Buck Henry on show biz, LAPD Homicide Detective John "Jigsaw" St. John on crime, James Ellroy (whose self-promotional murdered-mother shtick gets a little tiresome here) on panty-sniffing, musician Buddy Collette and impresario Gene Norman on the old Central Avenue jazz club scene, and the always droll and articulate Mike Davis himself on sewers, suburbs, Franciscan monks, and Dodger Stadium. The film is broken up into chapters like "The Beach" (with filmmaker John Milius on his old surfing days), "The Valley" (in which architectural historian Margaret Crawford makes even Pacoima seem fascinating and mysterious), and, of course, "Hollywood." L.A. is a meaty subject, and the film isn't exactly comprehensive (that would make Shotgun Freeway the length of Ken Burns' The Civil War), but it's definitely the scenic route through the L.A. Basin, a land built on sunshine and speculation.

-- Tod Booth

Shotgun Freeway screens Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 9 p.m. at the Pacific Film Archive, 2625 Durant (at College) in Berkeley. (An accompanying panel discussion, "The Dark Raptures of Mike Davis' L.A.," starts at 7 p.m. and is free with regular admission.) Tickets are $5.50; call (510) 642-1124 for more information.

About The Author

Tod Booth

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"